ISTANBUL (AFP) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday accused the international coalition battling the Islamic State group in Syria of leaving his country to fight the jihadists alone on its own soil.
“They have left us alone in our struggle against this organisation which is shedding our blood both through suicide bombings and by attacks on Kilis,” he said, referring to a Turkish border town regularly targeted by rockets fired from Syria.
“In Syria none of those who say they are fighting Daesh (Islamic State) have suffered the kind of losses that we have, nor paid such a heavy price as us,” added Erdogan, speaking at a film contest in Istanbul.
Turkey is on maximum alert after a series of attacks attributed to Islamic State in recent months, with Ankara and Istanbul among the places targeted.
Last summer Turkish forces began carrying out air strikes against the jihadist group across the border.
The border town of Kilis has come under frequent attack from rockets fired across the border from Syria that have killed at least 21 people, prompting the army to respond with howitzer fire.
Ankara also allows US jets to use its air base in southern Turkey for air strikes on the extremist group.
Turkish forces on Saturday launched a salvo of artillery strikes on northern Syria that killed 55 members of the Islamic State group, Turkish news agencies reported.
Turkey, a member of NATO and the US-led coalition against Islamic State, has recently appeared to increase its bombardment of Islamic State targets in Syria.